Ver Angola


Cards serve as beds for families accompanying patients in Luanda hospitals

Without money to pay for hotels or transport, dozens of people choose to spend the night in improvised cardboard “beds” near Luanda's hospitals, to be close to their family members and provide assistance, while they wait for their visit.

: Ampe Rogério/Lusa
Ampe Rogério/Lusa  

At 6h00 in the morning, at the Lucrécia Paim maternity ward, the largest in Luanda, the line of visitors grows thicker, while in the adjacent streets, mothers, grandmothers and aunts wait for news about pregnant women and women in labor.

Like Luzia Manuel, who is accompanied by two other family members and is waiting for her daughter to be discharged to meet her new granddaughter.

"We came yesterday and we have already been attended to, thank God, the girl has already had (a baby), everything is in the grace of the Lord", she told Lusa.

A resident of Catete, about an hour and a half away, she assumes that financial difficulties leave her no other alternative than to improvise a place to sleep in front of the maternity ward while she waits for her daughter and granddaughter, to minimize the cost of transport.

"We slept on the tarpaulins [cards]," she said, adding that each one cost 250 kwanzas.

She only brought a backpack with her with some clothes and water, regretting that she didn't have "amounts" to buy food.

"We have nothing to eat, we have nothing, even the baby doesn't have clothes to wear because we didn't count on her having a baby because it was only seven months," he told Lusa, explaining that his daughter had to be transferred by ambulance from from another hospital and hopes that the rest of the family will come to support her.

Paula Evaristo has been in that place since Monday, coming from "30", a neighborhood an hour away from Luanda, waiting for her daughter who is hospitalized after giving birth to twins that suffered complications.

"We're right here on the street sleeping, we don't know what day she's going to leave," she said, complaining that she was "shoed away" from the hospital door by the police and ended up paying 200 kwanzas to the owner of a backyard so she could extend the your card and spend the night.

Paula complains about the cold of those sleeping outside and the lack of money to buy food, saying that all she can do is "tie the cloth around her stomach".

Families' wait also generates business opportunities. There are those who pay for making their backyard available and those who take the opportunity to sell sandwiches, cookies, water, diapers and wipes for babies, with an almost guaranteed clientele.

This is the case of Lídia Chova, who only regrets not having more customers, because the police "race them".

"For example, last night I couldn't do anything, we only made 1500 (kwanzas). How am I going to pay the rent and the children's school fees?", she says.

The scenario is similar near the Américo Boavida Hospital, where this week a 25-year-old young man, who was outside, died after allegedly being denied assistance by the medical team on duty.

There are also cards or "luandos" (mats) spread out for the night, street vendors and family members walking around while waiting for information about patients.

José Armando came to accompany his 12-year-old nephew, who suffered an accident two days ago, while playing next to a wall, and stressed that he "was well looked after".

"He went up to the (operating) block and we already had the information that he was operated on", he highlighted, saying that he stayed there to accompany the family and be with the patient "because something could happen at night".

He says that this is the second time that a relative of his has been assisted at HAB, and that he liked the service, "despite there being some delays".

"Grandfather" André Mavinge, who has a niece hospitalized for a month and a half, is unhappy with the delay in treatment and complains that "to treat the patient you have to fill your hands" (give money).

He also points out the limitations imposed on visits and added that to see his niece outside the stipulated time (from 3pm to 4pm) he has to give 100 kwanzas to enter.

"If you don't pay 100 kwanzas you won't get in", he criticizes, praising, however, the work of the doctors "who are providing good care", despite not having their hands full.

"We are also sick, we, who came to take care of the patient. It is cold on us, there is sun on us, we have no right to enter where there is shade. We all have illnesses, Angola does not have people who are well ", he states.

The HAB management announced the suspension of the medical team, following the young man's death this week, and reported the incident, due to alleged negligence by the medical team on duty, to the Criminal Investigation Service.

Images circulating on social media show the corpse of a young man on the ground outside the HAB, located in the Urban District of Rangel.

Lusa tried to contact the hospital management, but was informed that an investigation is underway and only then will they provide further clarification to the press.


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